Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Family Fun and Day 5 Recovery

I will say this for having surgery and Kyle staying home for a week, the boys have never been more happy playing with Dad than these past few days. Thought I would start with family first for those of you who don't care about the surgery stuff.

The hardest part about surgery is sitting on the sidelines. I feel like I am watching them grow without me. Yes, it has only been 5 days, let's not get so dramatic. However, being forced just to sit and observe is SO different than being in the action. You catch things you may not see otherwise. For example, how a 3 year old Grant looks like he's going to be 15 soon sitting on the couch. That couch gets smaller every day.

Logan is a mover and a shaker. He is not crawling yet, although I won't say he sits still by any means. He is everywhere. He wiggles. He rolls. He scoots. He even grabs tables and pulls himself across the hardwood floor. His favorite thing of late is to roll off the carpet and get to the hardwood floor so he can pound on the wood. He gets the biggest grin on his face and just pounds as hard as he can to make noise.  No toy or dog, or piece of furniture, is safe.

Logan has 4 teeth going on 5. The bottom two came in together as a set, followed by the top 2, and now a third on top. He is very happy to bite and chew on whatever you give him... even if that means the ear of a dog who is sleeping unfortunately too close to Logan. Poor Ollie. 

Find the baby! This scene started out with all the toys in the basket and Logan sitting next to the basket. 10 minutes later, and this is what you see. The dogs are "taking a break" as well call it. We have a lot of "invasion of space" issues between both the kids and dogs, so every now and then everyone takes a break to have their own space.

Here Grant is helping Logan open his mail. Grant has caught on to the idea of sending and receiving mail, and loves to open mail. He opened Logan's card and read it to him, and then handed it over for Logan to chew on. 

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary, which means we have spent more years of our marriage in St. Louis (7) than in California. Kyle said "let me make dinner!" Which really, you should always say yes to. He made a lovely dinner of steak and salmon, asparagus and oven roasted potatoes. He even set dinner on the island for us to eat instead of the table because he knows his wife can't sit down for that long of time just yet. We ate standing up, next to these two crazy kids.

Trying on his St. Paddy's day hat. Wasn't too thrilled, but didn't mind much.

 Grant had to get in on the action too.

Dinner was lovely. We had a fabulous dinner, the boys ate at the island with us, and we had Sinatra in the background. Grant ate standing up on his stool, which is one of his favorite things so he was very excited. Grant also helped Logan eat some baby finger food and drink out of his water container. He's turning into a great big brother. We danced around the kitchen and laughed. For being such a screwy week, it was a dinner for the memory books.

Yesterday it was close to 80 degrees outside, but only a few days before, the boys had to get bundled up to go play. Logan has taken to the little blue car like he knows exactly what he is doing. The very first time Kyle put Logan in the car, Logan stuck out his hands, grabbed the steering wheel and honked the horn. For those of you who were with us in college, Logan is wearing the same gray knit hat Kyle wore at Cal Lu.

Grant has a few different vehicles to drive around the yard on, but for slow walk with Logan he hops on Thomas. We are working on learning that you can't crash Thomas into your little brother, or his stroller...or the dog, or the mailbox, or Mom... It's a work in progress.

This happened just this morning. The picture above is Grant at 10 months. 
The picture below is Logan this morning, at 9 months. 
Both liked to scoot backwards across the floor. It is a good shoulder workout, but also leaves your hands free to defend yourself from the hooligans known as Toby and Ollie.

Day 5 Recovery

First of all, I went back and looked at the blog from before and noticed all my typing errors. I'm not going to fix them. I'm leaving them there as a sign of the times. I was typing for maybe 5-7 minutes, and then I had to get up and walk around the room for a bit. Then sit back down and type. Part of me really wants to go back and fix them, but you've all already read it, so meh.

I am also amazed at how many people have told me they had this surgery, or are going to have this surgery. My doctor did say it was "that time for this generation". Seems like every generation hits a point where a few start breaking. I did ask him if I can attribute my original incident to pregnancy hormones or working out or anything, and mostly he just said "Normal wear and tear. Be happy it happened when it did. You could have been alone in the grocery store."

And then I thought - or worse, NOT alone in the grocery store with Grant and Logan as I writhe on the floor in pain. I did tell Kyle, if it was 200 years ago and calling an ambulance was not an option, I would have been looking for the nearest shovel to just whack myself in the head with. Just take me out.

I did call the doctor's office on Monday to ask about my nerve pain in my leg. Like I said before, if this surgery was just about my back, I would high-five the doctor, declare it a success and be on my way. Instead, I'm calling about leg pain. Whereas some people have crazy leg pain before surgery, I was numb, so in my brain I am now rationalizing being "not in pain" before surgery to "being in UNPLEASANT pain" after surgery. Thankfully, the PA at the office I spoke with was actually in my surgery and told me that my body had started to put calcium around the herniated portion of the disc and the doctor really had to fight to get it out. So yes (in her exact words) "your nerve is probably really pissed off". I started a 6-day pyramid steroid pack yesterday and am already feeling the relief. Yes, taking too many steroids in your life will ruin you, but a 6 day pack to ease the pain is a risk I'm willing to take. Now, of course, the trick is not to do anything extra today. I feel the best I've felt in 5 days, but you can't run out and do cartwheels yet. 

After your brain, there are 3 main parts of your body that need to be strong, especially if you lose or break one of those parts: back, core, and legs. Everything I do now that my back is out of commission is being powered by my legs - except one leg is really mad at me. Just think of every step, every chair, every move you make you have to plan out and make only your legs do the work. If we were in boot camp I would say "turn off all your other muscles and let your legs do the work". 

If you have been told you need the surgery, think about your normal day. Think about when you stand up out of a chair if you can use your legs or need your arms to help? Also think about your weight. The human skeleton has made a lot of poor trade-offs in order to stand up erect, and lower back issues are a function of how we are built. Extra weight will slow recovery and not help at all in the future. Do I mean get as skinny as you've ever been in your life? No. But do I wish I was maybe 5 or 10 pounds lighter before the surgery? Life would be easier. I don't mean getting rid of muscle, because you need every little piece you can get for this to go smoothly, but think about it in a logical process. There is also no exact "all better" date. It's not like with a broken arm when you are 6 and they take off your cast and you are all better. Your back is a moving, functioning main piece of your skeleton. It is basically healing while you are still bending and using it. There is no magic date. For a calendar's sake, you are out at least 2 weeks, but don't schedule any mud runs for a long while. Also, every person is different, so for everyone who said they popped right back in to action - congratulations. I am very happy for you. For others, it will take longer. Healing is not a competition. The competition is between you and your brain to not let your body do what it thinks it can the minute it starts to feel better. Holding off is the hardest part for me right now.

I've had a few people ask about this surgery and if I would recommend it. I must say, it's hard to recommend as I am not in your body and can't feel your pain, but so far so good. As my leg was before, I could not function properly, my leg did not keep up with my activities, and all I could think about was in the future Grant and Logan would have the mom that "couldn't keep up", and no one wants that. I feel like I am on the right track to recovery. I will keep in mind it has only been 5 days and I still can't pick up a child until the 2 week mark. No exercise for at least 4 weeks, and as my doctor said "None of that boot camp business for 6 weeks until we know what your back can handle." I will say that you have to know your doctor, and you have to make your doctor know  you and your lifestyle. In our first meeting I told him I was thoroughly annoyed with my leg that it didn't work and it was slowing me down. After that, we each knew who we were dealing with. I do feel lucky to live in St. Louis for our past few family health issues. I feel like we live in this rare combination of an area where there are a ton of specialists (especially per capita it seems), many doctors who are great at what they do, many teaching hospitals, and every time we need help we seem to keep winding up with the right doctor at the right time. For that, I am thankful.

As my friend told me a few days ago, "Back surgery and recovery is not a sprint. It is a marathon. You are now in a lifetime of recovery, rehab, and rebuilding."

Challenge accepted. 

Until next time, keep exploring!  If you think you've missed a post or two, just scroll down and look on the right for the Older Posts link. 

Love and hugs,
M, K, G, L, T & O